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Manteca woman, 42, loses fight with breast cancer

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POSTED December 31, 2009 2:31 a.m.
A 42-year-old Manteca woman plagued with breast cancer lost her fight for life this week ,  desperately wanting to live for the sake of her six-month-old son.

Denise Greenlee worked in the Manteca Bulletin press room as an inserter until recently when she had to leave because of the acute nature of her illness.  She had been living between friends and family members who offered her support.

She died Sunday at the U.C. Davis hospital fruitlessly calling for her baby son – the end of a sad story in her quest for life.  Denise Greenlee was seen as a “feisty woman” always there for her family and others in need when they were sick or had just come out of the hospital.  Denise was also the caregiver for her mother who is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

It was two years ago that she discovered a lump in her breast learning that it was benign and didn’t think any more about it.  She became pregnant last year and gave birth in mid-summer.  She returned to work but after a short time she couldn’t handle the developing pain.  A friend, Tana Looney, said she thought it was a form of mastitis from her pregnancy – at first ignoring the symptoms.

She reportedly went to an emergency room and was told that she had a breast infection and was sent home with antibiotics.  But by the end of October a biopsy revealed that she actually had what was described as inflammatory breast cancer.  

It was her dad living in Lodi and his concern for his daughter that got her to U.C. Davis where it was determined the cancer had metastasized all through her body – too late for a mastectomy.  

Denise was a stay-at-home mom before going to work in the press room, and served as the sole supporter for her baby and a 10-year-old daughter who attends Brock Elliott School.  Other children include Mathew, 25, who is in college after recently leaving the Navy.  Sons living in Manteca include Joseph, 21, David, 19, and Raymond, 18 – a senior at Manteca High School.

An account is being set up at a local bank seeking support for the two younger children.  Donations may be sent in care of Tana Looney at (209) 271-9518.
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